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19 November 2023

20 November 2023 – Children across Australia will make noise for our climate on World Children’s Day as part of UNICEF Australia’s first-ever A Minute of Loudness.

Children using megaphones to be loud about climate change impacts
Children using megaphones to be loud about climate change impacts
© UNICEF/UN0364428/Aliaga Ticona

A Minute of Loudness for our climate

The event, being joined by thousands of children from about 180 schools around the country, will see them participate in activities to draw attention to how the climate crisis is impacting children in Australia, our region and globally.

In the lead-up, participating schools have been provided with classroom resources, activities and lesson plans to help them plan their World Children’s Day A Minute of Loudness, whether they talk, sing, clap, cheer, play instruments or raise signs.

The climate crisis is a child rights crisis

UNICEF Australia’s Chief Advocate for Children, Nicole Breeze said the climate crisis is a child rights crisis.

"The burden of the climate crisis falls on children and young people, but they are the least responsible. Just in the last few years in Australia, children have seen the devastation of bushfires, the destruction from severe flooding, and heatwaves."

Nicole Breeze
UNICEF Australia’s Chief Advocate for Children

In Australia, 90% of children have experienced one natural hazard

A youth survey published by the Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience, supported by UNICEF Australia, found that almost 90 per cent of children and young people surveyed have already experienced at least one natural hazard event in their lifetime.

Bushfires, floods and even heatwaves all have an impact

Disasters such as bushfires and floods can destroy homes and schools, disrupting education and health services, and can cause trauma and ongoing stress. However, the incremental changes can also have an impact. In a heatwave, children can’t play outside and if buildings aren’t cool enough, they might have difficulty concentrating, which impacts their learning.

Children need to be prioritised and prepared

UNICEF Australia is calling for governments to prioritise children and young people in disaster preparedness and for child-centred disaster response, recovery and resilience-building in communities in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

One billion children at high risk of climate change impacts

More than one billion children around the world are at an extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change. Worldwide, 739 million children are exposed to high or extremely high water scarcity and more than 470 million children face high or extremely high drought risk.[1]

Children using their voices to be heard about the impacts of climate change on their future
Children using their voices to be heard about the impacts of climate change on their future
© UNICEF/UN0728556/Sharma

Our Pacific neighbours among worst impacted

Children born in the East Asia and Pacific region are experiencing a six-fold increase in climate-related disasters compared to their grandparents.[2]

Our neighbours in the Pacific are among the worst impacted. Kiribati is experiencing prolonged drought, without adequate clean drinking water. Rising sea levels in the Pacific are so severe that Tuvalu has plans in place to evacuate residents.

World Children's Day

UNICEF Australia is an Australian charity with a global footprint, advocating to protect and improve the lives of vulnerable children in more than 190 countries. In Australia, UNICEF Australia works to amplify children’s voices and defend their rights, anchored by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). On 20 November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention, and it is this date which World Children’s Day is celebrated each year, across the world.

Children's voices at the heart of UNICEF's mission

Ms Breeze said empowering children to be heard on the important issues is at the heart of UNICEF’s work.

"It’s about uniting all children in Australia for this collective moment. We want children to feel empowered and grow to be inspired to use their voice and share their views on what matters to them."

"We want children to be loud for this Minute of Loudness, but we want them to be encouraged to participate in the important conversations that take place in their communities every other day. Their voices are important and they should be considered by decision-makers on laws and policies in Australia that will impact them and their future."

Nicole Breeze
UNICEF Australia’s Chief Advocate for Children

Later this month the 28th Climate Change Conference (COP28) is being held in Dubai, where UNICEF Australia will deliver a national statement on behalf of young people. It’s the first time a statement of this kind has been produced on behalf of young people in Australia about climate change.